An Update on Washington’s Shadiest Shoo-Ins

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In the latest issue of the magazine, Josh Harkinson and I detailed the 5 shadiest members of Congress, who, despite their ethically-challenged ways, were bound to be reelected. Well, last night the people spoke and reelected all five, all by more than 60 percent of the vote. Due to last night’s shake-up, the Republicans on our list will lose some measure of clout and (hopefully) some of their ability to game the system. Not so the lone Dem on our list, whose power will only grow.

Here’s where things stand now:

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the former oilman and climate change denier, is reportedly jockeying for a post in the House minority leadership. He’ll no longer be the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, though.

Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) will soon lose his chairmanship of the House Appropriations Committee, where, most recently, he axed 60 investigators “charged with closely monitoring defense contracting and intelligence spending,” according to OMBWatch.

Come January Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) will no longer serve as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and thus will no longer be able to shut down hearings when he doesn’t like the topic of conversation.

Rep. Roy (the “midnight rider”) Blunt (R-Mo.), currently the House Majority Whip, will reportedly seek another term as the second most powerful House Republican.

The “prince of pork,” Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-W.Va.), will ascend to the chairmanship of the House Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice, Commerce and Related Agencies, a position he will likely use to take his earmarking bonanza to new and outrageous levels.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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